REC: Brexit forces employers to raise starting salaries

Staff shortages, fuelled by the UK’s decision to leave the EU are forcing employers to increase their starting salaries.

According to a report by Markit and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the availability of permanent candidates declined at the fastest pace in four months during September.

Net migration to the UK also dropped to a three-year low following uncertainty regarding EU citizens’ rights to live and work in the UK post-Brexit.

“The record-high UK employment rate plus a slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work here is exacerbating the situation, potentially leaving roles unfilled,” Kevin Green, REC’s Chief Executive Officer comments. “Recruiters are finding it even harder to find people to fill vacancies.”

The REC found that restaurants, warehouses and supermarkets are experiencing particular difficulties, as they hire a considerable proportion of people from the EU. The financial sector is also struggling to recruit for roles in audit, risk and payroll – Bloomberg reports.

The body, which represents the UK recruitment sector, is calling for Government to ensure that any new immigration system includes low-skilled and temporary workers so that workers can fill the jobs required. Green, commenting a leaked Government whitepaper detailing its post-Brexit immigration policy, which proposed that free movement would end in March 2019, says: “It’s important that the Government talks to recruiters and employers who understand the realities of various sectors of the labour market and that policy isn’t drafted on the basis of broad terms like ‘low skilled’ and ‘high skilled’ which can be interpreted in many different ways.”

The draft would see low-skilled workers feel the brunt of the policy, as they would only have a maximum of two years residency. The plan included ending free movement of labour immediately and adding restrictions that attempt to deter all but highly-skilled EU workers from entering the UK.

“Applying the criteria used in the current visa system for non-EU workers, 60% of the whole UK workforce would be classed as ‘low skilled’ as they earn under the qualifying threshold of £30,000. Severely limiting access to such workers from the EU would mean fewer nurses, electricians and chefs – vacancies that our members say are already hard to fill.”

Economy, Recruitment